Back to Work

January 15, 2013

Alas, my break from classes has come to an end and I shall be busy as ever this semester. I think it should be good though. I’ve only had one of my classes so far, so can’t comment on what I think my academic life will be like, but I like my new job and I think my internship at the museum will be a great experience (that orientation is tomorrow).

I will try to keep reading and reviewing. Or, rather, I assume I will keep reading and I will try to start actually posting reviews again.

Anyway, moving on to reviews:

I recently finished the Archivist by Martha Cooley. It’s supposed to be all about an archivist and a scholar who clash (intellectually) over the library’s collection of letters written by T.S. Eliot to a woman named Emily Hale. This conflict and the intellectual sparring figure prominently, but there are all these other narrative threads that distract from the main arc of the book.

An entire section in the middle of the book is essentially an excerpt of Judith’s (the archivist’s wife) journal. It is interesting and does inform a bit on Matthias’ (the archivist) character, but it doesn’t really fit into the rest of the book until the last little bit when everything is all tied up in a neat little bow.

And the main conflict — the thing with the scholar — seems to be in the background a lot of the time. I am critical because I think that this story could still have been character driven without being so confused and divergent.

All in all, I enjoyed The Archivist while reading it, but it didn’t leave a great lasting impression.

I also just finished We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. It’s an epistolary novel, which I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s an interesting concept given where Shriver went with things, but it played out in a strange way. In epistolary novels, the revelation of information is key, and I think it was kind of sloppy and poorly executed in some places.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is, at the most basic level, about a school shooting, and even with that benchmark in place, it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

I finished Ender’s Game a while ago, but I’ve been having trouble formulating a solid opinion of it because I don’t think I really liked the ending, but I also acknowledge that it couldn’t really have ended any other way without being entirely unsatisfactory. I’m not sure if I can discuss my thoughts on this book without spoilers, so consider this your Spoiler Alert.

Perhaps reading the following books in the series will help me better discern my feelings about this book, but I think the most gripping part is really the child soldiers/battle school. With the end of the Bugger war and the peace after the League war, that becomes somewhat of a non-issue and childhood becomes just that again. Obviously there’s the hibernating queen arc that could complicate things, but the goal is still not to start another war. I think I should read at least the next book in the series before making a decision.

I have some more books that I’m nearly through with, so hopefully those reviews will be up soon. I’m also really excited about my classes this semester and my internship, so maybe you’ll see more library-related posts in the future. Only time will tell.